Posts in Rated F
Recollections: The Phantom Menace

It was recently sometime this year the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace, which seems like a great time to rewatch and write about MY FAVOURITE STAR WARS MOVIE. Gasps, I hear. Ya, guess what middle-aged white men. I will defend The Phantom Menace for the same reason you will pretend these prequels don’t even exist: IT WAS MY CHILDHOOD! 😩 (that’s what you look like, you grown ass man babies)

Maybe even more than I remember the movie I remember... McDonald’s had these little POG-like things with the characters on them to collect and trade. They also had giant cups (or maybe it was the movie theatres?) with character toppers and we had Amidala (for me) and R2-D2 (for my brother). My Queen Amidala pencil tin (still have it). My droid watch “Hit the nose!” (Still have it). The Phantom Menace PC game. I know the first scene of that game (because I suck at computer games and would die and have to restart a lot) better than any scene in the movie. The podracing PC game demo that came with an issue of my brothers PC magazine, whatever it was called (possibly just PC Magazine?). I always raced as Sebulba because I liked the look of his podracer the most and also thought it was cool to play as the bad guy. And Episode 1 Monopoly (still have it).

THIS WAS MY CHILDHOOD. And you can’t take that away from me. But let’s see what rewatching the movie for the first time in nearly a decade does to my childhood memories. 

Will I ever understand galactic politics?
I never understood what was going on in Star Wars. Princess Leia needs help because bad guys blow up her planet, but, like, rebels and alliance? No, Alliance is Firefly… the Republic? This movie is about the Trade Federation… I don’t know what invading Naboo with droids and killing people has to do with interplanetary trade laws… I know Amidala is a Queen (and a kween, gurl). There are Senators and Chancellors and a Supreme Chancellor. The system works too slow for Amidala’s liking and yet election for the new Supreme Chancellor takes only a few days? With all this technology, they can’t send some evidence of millions of droids on a planet? I’ll never understand any of this; I’ll stop trying.

Are we not supposed to notice the difference between the CG and practical effects?

It is jarring. It is like watching the original trilogy and you get the cantina scene and suddenly the band is CG instead of puppets and you’re like- Damnit, this is the terrible remastered version! I just need consistency within a movie so I can suspend my disbelieve evenly throughout. The practical stuff looks great! It’s real! The CG stuff makes me remember this is a movie because that is obviously FAKE. And I don’t mean Jar Jar, or like a whole CG sequence like when they’re underwater. Some scenes have the same thing practical one shot and then totally CG next time you see it and, like, what is real? What is a movie? What is happening?

Did the editor think that swipe transitions would save the disjointed scenes?

This movie jumps around between so many story lines I have no idea what is going on in any of them, or how time is passing. We’re on Naboo, we’re on a space station, here’s this evil guy, here’s the jedis, here’s some droids. There’s no flow; only swipes. Even within scenes, actors’ lines are delivered as if they’re each cut from a separate scene, as if no one is acting with anyone, and everything feels like ADR. “I have exposition.” “I also have exposition” *side swipe* “I have exposition about the trade federation.” “Fact about the trade federation.” *swipey swipe* “Me sa Jar Jar! Me sa make no blipblop googly ding dong sense! Oopsie swoopsie!” “Serious jedi wisdom in complete opposition in tone from the rest of the scene.” THIS IS THE MOVIE, FOLKS! What are the stakes at any given moment? A scene starts out implying great peril, but they escape without any conflict so I’m not sure what the point of anything is. I don’t want to blame the editors completely as this is what they had to work with but surely something smoother could have been put together?

Can I make Darth Maul a bisexual icon?
Look; we know from his lightsaber that he swings both ways. And aside from the teeth, Darth Maul can GET IT. He’s got a deep sexy voice, sick dance/fight moves, and an exclusively black wardrobe. Darth Maul > Kylo Ren. Maul isn’t a whiny emo kid. He’s grown-ass goth man. I have to question his reflexes, though. There’s one part of the fight with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan when they jump over to join him on another walkway and he just lets them jump over within a foot of him and doesn’t, say, slice em up as they somersault toward him. Missed opportunity, man. 

Who is Amidala’s personal stylist?
Both Natalie Portman and her identical twin Kiera Knightly are killing it. This is the only part of this movie that should live on forever.

Were we not supposed to know Palpatine is evil?

I didn’t rewatch Episodes 4-6 before this, but he’s in those right? So, watching this we know he’s the hooded hologram? I mean, he’s clearly evil. He’s an old white man telling a young woman what to do. I’m a firm believer that a movie has to exist on its own. Even a sequel or part of a series or franchise. I shouldn’t have to watch something else to be able to watch a movie. Or read a comic or book. Or watch interviews wherein the filmmakers explain the movie. The movie speaks for itself. So I shouldn’t know who Palpatine is and be surprised that it’s him in the end. Or is that not revealed in this movie? I forget already. See- it’s confusing when movies rely on outside source material! What order should I watch these in? What am I supposed to know or not know to watch this film?!

Is Anakin Jesus?
This isn’t a question, really, but I have created a format for this post that I will stick to, because of course Anakin is Jesus. “There was no father…” When I was young, I thought she was just being like “I didn’t need no man to raise a kid! I did this on my own!” But now the immaculate conception explanation is just so obvious. And then later when Qui-Gon says the midichlorians just got together inside her and created him… So then mom is the one that’s pretty amazing, she must have had a lot of midichlorians and stupid Anakin stole them. Also- she’s a slave… no one wants to say it but… rape? And then traumatic denial of it? Just saying...

Final Question: Is it worth the rewatch?
I’d say, ya, if you’re a Star Wars fan and want to relive the whole saga, it would include this movie, but apparently Star Wars “fans” like to pretend these prequels don’t exist so they wouldn’t watch them anyway. So… no? I don’t think I ever need to watch it again. It just made me miss my old Phantom Menace computer games… Life was simpler then… 

Oh, I get it… Darth Maul is the titular menace.

RATED F Ep. 55: Dear White People + the Politics of Satire

Tish and Juliana talk about Dear White People and the politics of satire with guest Jed! We try to figure out what the movie is actually trying to say; where is the satire, what angle/point of view is it taking, who is it really representing? Jed is a filmmaker and media production grad student who knows way more about this than we do!

Rated FTish ChambersPodcast
Autumn Watchlist

If there’s one thing I love, it’s telling people what to do. And movies. Telling people what movies to watch? A dream. (Literally my dream job- film programmer.) I like to live seasonally. I have home decor that I change with the seasons, wardrobe, music, and, of course, movies and TV that I watch at certain times of year.

Juliana was too busy packing and moving to contribute to this watchlist, but expect more seasonal watchlists from us! (Honestly, there may be more than one for Christmastime alone.) For now, get cozy on the couch in a knit sweater with a cup of hot apple cider, or maybe that bag of Halloween candy that you bought just for yourself because you’re too old for trick-or-treating, and watch these movies and TV shows this autumn. Whether you’re craving gorgeous autumnal color schemes or pre-Halloween spooky-but-classy vibes, I’ve got it.

(It’s also important to note that our birthdays signify the beginning and end of Autumn. Juliana on August 31 and me on Halloween. So, wish Juliana a happy birthday, watch all this stuff, then wish me a happy birthday!)

Gilmore Girls
September 2012 I decided that Gilmore Girls was distinctly back-to-school/autumnal vibes and so I would rewatch it every September. What makes it so autumnal? It could be that every season begins with Rory going back to school amidst the faux-Connecticut fall foliage. Or that every DVD set has the titular girls posing with a fallen leaves motif. Is watching the entire series every year too much? For some shows, sure, but I’m somehow not sick of the Gilmores yet and every year I get more of their pop culture references.

The Cartoons
Over the Garden Wall, Ruby Gloom, Hilda
Some of the best animated shows that I’ve seen (and I work for an animation festival- brag) also happen to be perfectly suited to autumn/Halloween watching. All three of these shows will give you leaf-heart-eyes; spooky forests, creepy house, mythical creatures. I can’t do the color schemes justice with only words! You’ll just have to watch them for yourself.

The Addams Family
The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, The New Addams Family
No, I will not be watching the new movie. It. Looks. Terrible. I’m so disappointed. Better to stick with the legends Angelica Huston and Christina Ricci. And for longer-lasting Addams vibes I’ll put on the silly Canadian sitcom, The New Addams Family

The Witches
The Craft, Practical Magic, American Horror Story: Coven
I’m a witch all year round but October is time to go all in. I could write a whole piece about how The Craft made me who I am today (look at my wardrobe). AHS: Coven also has major wardrobe goals and extreme power dynamics at play. Witches are all about wardrobe- I mean- power. I watch witches to power up pre-birthday! (I turn 30 on Halloween WTF)

The Halloween movies for your inner child
Halloweentown (1-4), Ernest Scared Stupid, Double Double Toil and Trouble, Hocus Pocus, Casper, The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror
If you’re not watching Hocus Pocus every October, what are you even doing with your life? The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes are a great way to watch horror movies without having to actually watch them.

The Hallmark movies
Autumn Dreams, Harvest Moon, October Kiss
Netflix has seemingly infinite Hallmark/Lifetime/sappy movies for Christmastime, but what about when you need some romantic sap in the fall? These three Hallmark movies may be totally predictable and saccharine-sweet, but- well, that’s it really. That’s what they are, take it or leave it. I’ll take it!

Anne of Green Gables
Anne with an E, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea
Last summer, I had my heart set on going to PEI for my time off in October. (It didn’t happen- but next year!) So, I decided I better check out Anne with an E to get into a PEI mood but I got so much more than that. Anne with an E is honestly one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen. Anne Shirley is such an amazing character, whether it’s this new (queer!) show from CBC, the original mini series, or the book. Why is it autumnal watching? You get to see all four PEI seasons throughout the show but season 2 starts with her much-Pinterested quote “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!” *queue happy tears*

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
So happy to make this a new yearly rewatch. Christine is like Morticia’s crafty sister. Watching her create delicious spooky treats and decor would make this a very soothing show to watch if it were not for her hilarious Jim Henson creature roommates making you cackle.

I’m including Coraline this year because I am going to be Coraline for Halloween. And it’s probably my favorite animated film, and it’s got spoopy vibes perfect for pre-Halloween season.

The Book of Life
As Juliana reminds me every time we mention this movie “It was our first date!” I am aware that Día de los Muertos is not Halloween. But, come on. Skelly vibes.

Rated FTish ChambersWriting
RATED F Ep. 54: Drunk Disney + Descendants 3

Tish and Juliana got drunk watching Disney's Descendants 3 and then talked about it. The end of the Descendants journey brings many controversial topics with it; immigration laws, wrongful imprisonment, appropriate hairstyles for young men, and incestuous sexual tension. Juliana investigates Hades's age and Tish dubs Harry Hook a #bicon. Once again, Descendants brings the bangers, and we bring the drinking game.

Drinking Game

Basic Rules:
- title mentions
- when you can predict the next line
- when there’s a song to sing along to

Descendants 3 Rules:
- when you wanna go “Awwww! They’re still together!” seeing all the same couples”
- when Doug looks at least 40 years old and you are disturbed
- when you feel these immigration laws/imprisonment of children is wrong
- for every outfit change!
- every time the dog talks because you forgot there’s a fucking talking dog here
- every time Audrey does an evil laugh
- when you feel the homoeroticism
- when Mal and Hades’s sexual tension makes you uncomfortable

Get in touch:
Twitter: @RatedFmovies
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RATED F Ep. 53: Boys Don't Cry + Movie Ratings
RATED F Ep. 52: Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong and Conversation Movies

Tish and Juliana talk about Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong and conversation movies. A lot can happen in a movie where nothing happens... except a conversation between two people. We talk about the consequences of a romantic evening with a stranger, why some conversation movies work and some don't, and what a movie can do with just two characters and a lot of dialogue.

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RATED F Ep. 51: Brave Girls Break the Mold: Studio Ghibli's Heroes [Ottawa ComicCon 2019]

Tish and Juliana presented the panel 'Brave Girls Break the Mold: Studio Ghibli's Heroes' on May 11, 2019 at Ottawa ComicCon.

For over 30 years, Studio Ghibli has been defying animation expectations by putting girls at the helm of action adventure films. Why are these representations so important and how do they tackle stereotypes of femininity? Let’s discuss the traits these memorable young girls share that have made them so influential to fans of all ages and genders.

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In the Movies Ep. 50: Barbra Streisand

Tish and Juliana talk about Barbra Streisand's career in film. From the beginning of her movie career, we are enamoured with Barbra on screen. From the screwball comedies of the 70's, to dramas, to her move into directing, and her post-retirement, we look at the themes and changes the incomparable Barbra had throughout her career. 

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Twitter: @IntheMoviesPod 
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In the Movies Ep. 49: The Butterfly Effect + Time Travel

Tish and Juliana talk about The Butterfly Effect and time travel in movies. Well, first we have a quick rant about Spielberg v. Netflix, but then we get into how we remembered The Butterfly Effect compared to how it was watching it now. We agree it's still a cool concept but get into everything they did wrong with it. Plus, other methods of time travel, the paradoxes they create, and why we are all drawn to time travel stories lately.

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I Watched All Four A Star is Borns in One Weekend and I Can't Stop Screaming About It

If this were a video essay, I would just stand in front of the camera and SCREAM for nine and a half hours. Because that is how much time I spent watching all four A Star is Born movies last weekend and that is how they made me feel by the end.

This self-imposed movie marathon doesn’t have much of an origin story. I have no particular connection to any A Star is Born movie. I had never seen any of them, but knew the gist of the story. After the most recent remake/reboot was released, I had no interest in it instead opting to go see The Favourite. But when my coworker described it as a good “hate watch” I became intrigued, looked into all four movies, and I just decided I should watch them all and write about it and here we are, let’s begin.

In case you are not familiar with the story at all, here is a summary that works for all four movies: A man, once successful in the entertainment industry now abusing drugs and becoming irrelevant to his audience/industry, happens upon an attractive young woman and decides he will use his industry connections to give her her big break into the industry. She quickly finds success and quickly becomes enamoured with the man who seemed to have made her dreams come true; they are in love, they get married. Although he manages to lay off his substance abuse and overall bad behaviour at the beginning of their relationship, seeing her success while his own career is essentially ended, drives him back to his old ways. He drunkenly interrupts her award speech. She makes the decision to put her husband’s well-being before her own career/dreams/success/happiness and give up her career for him. As a reaction to finding out her intention, he kills himself. She is devastated, but gathers herself for one final public appearance, and uses it to honour her husband. The end.

Yikes, right? Sounds like all she does is be in love with a badly behaved man. There must be more than that. Not really. But let’s see what does change in each movie.


The Man: Norman Maine, movie star
The Woman: Esther Victoria Blodgett, renamed Vicki Lester, a nobody trying to be a movie star
The Woman’s Only Friend: Danny, an assistant director (Bonus: Grandma Lettie!)
The Producer: who cares, he’s another old white man
The Publicist: Libby. He’s an asshole.
How they meet: At a wrap party, she is a waitress, he is drunk
Repeated Line: “Hey! Do you mind if I take just one more look?” after he drops her off at home that first night and just before he walks into the sea
Her career: movie actress
The proposal, wedding, and honeymoon: Casual proposal watching a boxing match; she says no you drink too much, he says he’ll stop. Married at city hall, go on a camping honeymoon in a tiny trailer.
His first fall: being home alone while she works, taking messages for her, and then being called “Mr. Lester” by the mailman breaks him
The awards show: Oscars banquet, he invents the Razzies “What about an award for the worst performance?” and accidentally slaps her in the face
His second fall: post-sanitarium, comes out clean but Libby is mean so he starts drinking, no word for four days; he’s in night court, released into her custody
His suicide: walks into the sea; unclear if Vicki or anyone understands that it was suicide
Final Declaration: “I’m Mrs. Norman Maine.”

Surprisingly, at the end of this I think the first film is my favorite. Okay, the bias there might be that I was young and innocent when I watched it, not jaded and angry like the last one. But considering I’m not usually a fan of movies that old but enjoyed it as much as I did says a lot. And this guy is by far the best looking of the Normans and/or Maines.

Grandma Lettie is the only Strong Female Character
In all these movies Esther/Ally is the sole female in the movie. Which is awful to watch. How boring and unrealistic that this woman has no female friends. In the first film, however, she has her Granny at least. The first film differs from the rest by starting Esther's story before she gets to Hollywood. She’s just a Midwest girl who likes the pictures. She wants to be a movie star but her whole family tells her that’s dumb and she’ll never make it. But Granny has a great monologue, some quotable lines, and then gives Esther the money to get on a train to Hollywood. “I was only saving up for my funeral. And now I don’t think I’m ever going to die.” And she returns after Norman’s death to buck up Vicki to continue her career because “I was proud to be the grandmother of Vicki Lester. It gave me something to live for. Now, I haven’t anything.” The sass! Granny is a sarcastic old so-and-so and I love her the most out of all these films. If you only watch one, or one more, A Star is Born movie, make it the original and listen to Grandma Lettie! She is wise and sassy!
(Note: Lettie is another nickname for my full name, Letitia. So, yes, I plan on growing old into smart n sassy Grandma Lettie. You may start referring to me as such when occasion calls for it.)


The Man: Norman Maine, movie star
The Woman: Esther Blodgett, renamed Vicki Lester, singer
The Woman’s Only Friend: Danny, her group’s pianist
The Producer: some old white man
The Publicist: Libby, an asshole
How they meet: She is performing with her group, he stumbles drunkenly onto the stage and she manages to make it look maybe not so bad by dancing with him
Repeated Line: end of first night, “Hey. I just want to take another look at you.” before he walks into the sea, “Hey. I just wanted to look at you again.”
Her career: movie star, specifically musicals
The proposal, wedding, and honeymoon: Proposal is pretty cute- they’re secretly recorded during a break from her rehearsal and then they play it for us, and everyone in the scene, to hear but the dialogue is the same, wedding scenes are word-for-word the same, honeymoon in a motel?
His first fall: same. Doesn’t like being her househusband, mailman calls him “Mr. Lester”
The awards show: Oscars, same drunken rant, same accidental slap
His second fall: Same. Post-sanitarium, Libby triggers him, night court.
His suicide: walks into the sea, only the audience knows it’s suicide
Final Declaration: “Hello everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine.”

The beginning of this one had me thinking that maybe watching the same movie over and over won’t be so bad because enough is being changed what with this one being a musical and Judy being so great, but then after watching her movie-within-the-movie for 15 minutes and the intermission, during which I realized this movie is THREE HOURS LONG, the second half is nearly identical to the first movie, including word-for-word dialogue in scenes. That, I really didn’t need to watch twice in a row. The reason this one is three hours long is that every ten minutes is a five minute Judy performance. Almost every scene includes her singing, or they insert a scene of her rehearsing a movie or something between scenes. Judy’s great, but my god it’s a lot of musical performances.

His suicide is the grand finale to his selfish life
Norman/John Norman/Jackson’s suicide is pivotal to the story. And I hate it. Its meaning changes from the first two to the second two. In the first two, he overhears Esther saying that she’s going to give up her career to be with him/help him/care for him/give him his life back. Rightfully so, he feels torn up and guilty about what he’s done to her. So he walks into the sea. The movie viewer knows his intention. But the newspaper headline says “accidental drowning”. It’s not clear whether Esther or anyone knows or suspects it was suicide. If she believes it was an accident then it’s just tragic but knowing your husband chose to die- that’s a different story. I don’t think she knows it was suicide. In the 1976 film, viewers who know the story will know its coming and see that he’s intent on dying as he drinks a beer and drives recklessly through the desert, but it’s left ambiguous and is never explicitly implied to be suicide by any characters. Preluding it, there isn’t an obvious scene where he learns of Esther’s intentions but he seems to know she’s trying to bring him on tour and they won’t let her and so she doesn’t want to tour? So, again, it’s presented as a guilt-based, self-sacrificing suicide.
In 2018, he really definitely commits suicide. No question. Plenty of foreshadowing (Thanks, movie, I really needed your help with that like I don’t know the story…) And with the mention of a previous suicide attempt, his suicide later changes from just the usual self-sacrifice to a symptom of mental illness. It’s not completely “I think this is the best thing for Ally”. (You could argue that in every movie he is dealing with mental illness which is shown with substance abuse, reckless behaviour, and suicide.) But they move around some scenes in the plot so that Ally’s manager (somewhat the replacement for the publicist character from the first two) tells him he’s dragging her down right before the scene where she says she’s not going on tour anymore. So, his decision to kill himself seems like a reaction to some guy being mean to him and just a little bit from what Ally says. And then he fucking kills himself. The selfish bastard. Every movie, he’s a selfish baby who can’t handle his wife being more successful than he is and then he tops it off by KILLING HER HUSBAND. How dare he. How selfish and absolutely terrible to the woman he loves and just so cowardly. Rather than step it up and work on becoming a better man, a better husband, or at the very least just quietly working on himself while supporting his wife, or maybe just leaving her alone for a while. HE TAKES HER HUSBAND AWAY FROM HER. The husband she loves so much that she put up with his alcoholic shit all this time and took care of him and was willing to sacrifice her career for him. He says fuck you, I’m going to traumatize you by killing your husband, and in the 2018 film, leaving you with the guilt that I KILLED MYSELF BECAUSE OF YOU. Yikes, guys. Yikes.


The Man: John-Norman Howard, frontman of The Speedway
The Woman: Ester Hoffman, nightclub singer (together with her two black back-up singers known as The Oreos!)
The Woman’s Only Friend: SHE HAS NO FRIENDS
The Manager or something: Nick Nolte- I mean, Gary Busey, who constantly serves up cocaine and Jack Daniels
The Publicist?: Some other man that works for the record label?
How they meet: He comes into the bar where she is performing, rudely talks through her song, she somehow still finds him charming...
Repeated Line: not in the usual two places, but he does say at one point “Hey Ester… I was just taking another look.”
Her career: musician, records an album, tours
The proposal, wedding, and honeymoon: after her first live performance (everyone loves her) she tells him she wants to marry him, he says he drinks too much, she insists, married at city hall “leave out obey”, honeymoon to the desert where they have a cute montage of building their ranch house together
His first fall: He never really gives up drinking, but he has a similar scene of being mistaken for her secretary on the phone, and not happy about it.
The awards show: drunken speech, doesn’t slap her but accidentally pushes her down on an escalator?
His second fall: no sanitarium/rehab for him to relapse, instead he cheats on Ester, but big surprise, she forgives him
His suicide: he knows he’s fucking up her career because she doesn’t want to tour without him but touring with her would ruin the tour; he leaves one morning saying he’s going to work or something and we have to watch a too-long scene of him drinking and driving and then we see the car smashed
Final Declaration:  “Ladies and Gentlemen, Ester Hoffman Howard” followed by epic Babs performance

This movie would have been unbearable if it weren’t for Babs. Even with her, it’s a hard slog. Her performances, and some outfits, are all I liked about this one. Just when I think the Norman character is getting predictable and another one would be boring, Kris Kristopherson comes in with this boring lump of a character. Who is he? What does he do? Anything? Anything redeemable? YAWN. They changed a lot of the original storyline for this one and it did not work out for them. It would have been better off strictly following the original plot points with modern updates than changing the structure into whatever this is that I don’t understand and don’t care about, please stop making me watch him drive; I know it’s going to end in a crash, come on.

Women; they owe it all to men
In every one of these movies, Ester/Ally is surrounded by men. A man kick starts her career, manages her career, is her only friend. When she stands on stage to accept her award, she thanks the men who she works with and her disgusting drunk husband as he stumbles on stage. He is ruining her big moment and she just thanks him! If a man interrupted my acceptance speech, I would murder him with the award and finish my speech standing over his body, covered in his blood.
Over and over again, I watched these women forgive this man. He leaves her hanging? Forgiven when he shows up again. They get in a fight? Forgive him. He gets in trouble with the law because of his drinking? Forgive him and give up my career to save him. It’s hard to watch because their relationship shows all the textbook signs of an abusive relationship. We all know how easy it is to find yourself in an abusive, unhealthy relationship when you’re already so deep in it you don’t see a way out. These women see him as her savior; he started her career. She owes him everything she has, so she forgives him for his slip-ups. And, of course, the thing that will always keep you in an unhealthy relationship; love. She loves him, so she has to stand by her man and help him. It was sickening and sad to watch over and over, especially in the latest movie, as I really expect better at this point. Women aren’t so perfect now that don’t end up in these relationships; but writers know better than to romanticize this crap!
In 2018, Ally bounces between, sometimes within one scene, being told what to do by both her husband and her manager. Husband is supposed to be seen as the opposite of the manager telling her to be a certain type of popstar when he tells her to write her songs and do her thing, but he’s just telling her what to do as well. And then yells at her for being a success but not in the way he wanted her to be a success; for seeking others approval because his approval should be enough.
The 1976 movie gets us the closest to Ester standing up for herself; she lets him have it after finding him in bed with another woman. But she literally goes from yelling “I hate you!” to kissing him and saying “I love you.” And a scene later, he tells her he’s proud of her for standing up for herself; once again we need a man’s approval of her behaviour. The 1954 and 1976 movies both have a scene in which Ester is recording and instead of telling her band herself that it’s not quite what she wants; she has to tell a man to tell the men in the band to do what she wants. It’s painful to watch this dynamic play out.
Seriously, if you feel like you don’t already hate men enough, watch all these movies and join me in my eternal screaming.


The Man: Jackson Maine, rockstar
The Woman: Ally something, waitress and singer who only sings at a drag bar dressed in drag
The Woman’s Only Friend: latino GBF
The Manager: Sam Elliot -big reveal!- Jackson’s much older brother
The Other Manager: British boy, Ally’s manager
How they meet: He happens upon the drag bar, sees her perform and because he’s famous is allowed in the dressing room to meet her
Repeated Line: when he drops her off after their first night and before he kills himself “Hey. I just wanted to take another look at you.”
Her career: singer/songwriter/popstar, recording and performing
The proposal, wedding, and honeymoon: She tracks him down at a friend’s house in Atlanta, where she forgives him for his shit once again, at the dinner table with these people she just met, he slips on a ring he just made out of a guitar string (how dare they not play ‘Guitar String / Wedding Ring’ by Carly Rae Jepsen right now), quickie wedding in a church with his friends, no one she knows, no honeymoon period.
His first fall: He picks a fight with her when she’s in the bathtub?
The awards show: drunken speech, no physical violence
His second fall: no relapse post-rehab, I guess he had enough fuck-ups already
His suicide: hangs himself in the garage with his belt, instead of showing up at her final show
Final Declaration: “Hello, I’m Ally Maine.” followed by epic Gaga performance

Alright. Here we go. It’s been 42 years since the last one. Times have changed. It’s the era of #timesup and #metoo and breaking the celluloid ceiling and feminism is running wild and Lady Gaga, feminist activist who stands up for LGBT+ and sexual assault survivors is the star. Ya, this one is gonna flip it on its head! Damn the man! Girl power! Let’s do this!
Ya… I never believed any of that would happen. This movie begins with Ally yelling “Fucking men!” in a public washroom and frankly should have ended there. She spends the rest of the movie letting men tell her what to do, seeking their approval, forgiving their behaviour, and putting them before her. I’m so done.

It’s 2018 and we’re still writing women characters like this
In this age of Hollywood where nothing is original, everything is a remake, reboot, franchise, adaptation, someone was looking through old movies for ideas of what to remake and thought- you know what hasn’t been remade in a while? A Star is Born. Ya, let’s add a third remake to that. And let’s specifically remake the 1976 version which is inarguably the worst version. (If it weren’t for Babs singing throughout that movie, it would have been unbearable.) Good plan, Hollywood! Okay, so you’ve decided to remake a movie which originated in the 30’s, specifically remaking the version from the 70’s. The version from the 70’s which changed quite a bit from the first two films, to update it for the time and make something a bit more original. So, 42 years later, you’re going to really change it up again, right? Update it for today’s social climate, switch some genders or ages, add a more diverse cast, find ways to inject some feminism and social awareness into the characters and plot? Nah… Let’s make the same fucked up misogynist shit they made in the 70’s but we’re gonna change her name to Ally and put her in a drag bar because we know drag is real hip now, and we’re cool with that. Give her a gay latino best friend for diversity. More women? No, that seems unnecessary. She’ll stand out more if she’s the only female in the entire film… You can see why, even if I hadn’t just watched the first three movies, I would be SCREAMING throughout this one.
I already knew, having heard how terrible it was, but I am still shocked that they didn’t change the character or major plot points to make the whole thing less of a nightmare for women to watch. Still, she falls for this mess of a man, gets swept off her feet, does as he says, follows him around, asks him for advice, does what other men tell her, sacrifices for him over and over, forgives him over and over, stands up for herself once, and then forgives him again, almost sacrifices her whole career for him, and then after he kills himself still acts like she owes it all to him by declaring “I’m Mrs. Norman Maine.” / “I’m Ester Hoffman-Howard.” / “I’m Ally Maine.” because it’s still all about him. I’m still screaming. Imagine me screaming this in your face because that is how I am delivering this. Ask my coworkers. The whole office got an earful when they innocently asked me “What’d you do this weekend?"
Before I leave the 2018 version I just have two more things I have to scream at you- HIS VOICE!!!??!!!! I was baffled and howling with confused laughter when I realized oh he is really going to do this voice the whole time- and then when Sam Elliot literally accuses him of stealing his voice?! I died. This is way worse than when I watched whatever Batman movie with Bane and could not take him seriously because what the fuck is that voice. And finally, the hill I will die on in any A Star is Born (2018) discussion… SHALLOW IS NOT EVEN THE BEST SONG IN THIS MOVIE. This song won an Oscar?! “Sha-la-la-la-la-la-low” won an award?! No song featuring “Sha-la-la” should win any awards except something like “Most Underrated 90’s Bop” which is awarded to “Shalala Lala” by The Vengaboys. ‘Always Remember Us This Way’ and ‘I’ll Never Love Again’ are the only things I want to live on from this movie.

So, what did I learn after my weekend of watching Stars being Born? We really need to start making some new fucking movies, ladies. We don’t need any more stories of a woman being the leading lady yet somehow still second to the man’s story line. No more women succeeding only by a man’s permission. No more women sacrificing for undeserving men. No more! Please, someone write the antithesis of this movie in which Lady Gaga is a vigilante hunting down men who oppress and control women, which she will direct and win the fucking Oscar.

I can only end this with the last viewing note I wrote down; AAAAHHHHHHH

In the Movies Ep. 48: Fifty Shades Drunkest

Tish and Juliana got drunk watching Fifty Shades Freed and then talked about it. And Tish’s neighbour’s loud dogs, abortion & adoption, heteronormative societal expectations, sex toy designs, and tried to remember how all the secondary characters are related.

Drinking Game(s)
Fifty Shades of Grey Rules
Fifty Shades Darker Rules

Fifty Shades Freed Rules:
- someone says "Mrs. Grey" or "Mr. Grey"
- Ana calls Christian "Sir"
- you see just the top of his pubic hair
- when he's in only jeans while fucking
- Ana is surprised by his rich lifestyle
- it reminds you of Twilight
- Ana shows some spine
- you think NOPE!
- their sex is far too quick to finish

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In the Movies... Ep. 46: Santa Claus Logic in Movies

Tish and Juliana talk about the (lack of) logic of Santa Claus in movies. There are some major logic problems with the believability of Santa, but there's one big one that's never been addressed in movies and we need to address it now. And then Tish outlines her super inclusive (and logical) The Santa Clause trilogy reboot ideas.

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Rated FTishIn the Movies, Podcast
In the Movies Ep. 45: Drunk Christmas: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Tish and Juliana got drunk watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Rudolph's Shiny New Year and then talked about it.

Drinking Game

Basic Rules:

- title mentions

- when you can predict the next line

- when there’s a song to sing along to

Rudolph Rules:

- Rudolph's nose lights up

- Yukon throws his pick-axe

- Santa's a dick

- you see the narrator

- you're terrified

- a line directly from the song

- "Eat, Papa, eat!"

- that's a name of a sex move

- time puns/names

- Rudolph should fly

- "Those ears!"

All 19 Fun, Festive, Utterly Bizarre Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials, Ranked from Worst to Best

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Rated FTishIn the Movies, Podcast
In the Movies Ep. 44: Set It Up & How We Watch Movies

Tish and Juliana talk about Set It Up and how we watch movies. We agree that Set It Up is charming, fun, hilarious, and clearly written by women. With Cannes banning Netflix originals and studio directors clinging to the idea of "sacred cinema", what is the future of movies viewed on the big screen? We talk about our real movie theatre experiences that make us glad that we can watch movies in the comfort of our own homes with streaming services and dvd/blu-ray.


The Death Of DVD Will Haunt Us [Huffington Post]

Domestic movie theater attendance hit a 25-year low in 2017 [The Verge]

Theater chains are terrified of MoviePass because of subscribers like me [The Verge]

Movie Theater Attendance Has Hit A 24-Year-Low, And 2018 May Be Worse [Uproxx]

Netflix Originals Are Now Barred From Competition At Cannes [Birth.Movies.Death.]

How frequently do you go to a movie theater to see a film? [Statista]

How many people stream Netflix? [Recode]

15 Reasons Why People Don't Go To The Movies Anymore [Screen Rant]

Netflix Is Not the Problem: Why Bad Theatrical Presentations Are Destroying the Experience [IndieWire]

Steven Spielberg Doesn’t Think Netflix Movies Deserve Oscars [Variety]

Netflix vs. Cannes: why they’re fighting, what it means for cinema, and who really loses [Vox]

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In the Movies Ep. 43: The Tale & Sexual Violence on Screen

Tish and Juliana talk about The Tale and sexual violence on screen. Despite the disturbing events of The Tale, it's an incredible, engaging story and well-made film. So, what makes this film, containing rape scenes, an "important" movie to see while other movies with scenes of sexual violence and/or violence seem gratuitous, indulgent, or just plain sick? There's no definitive answer, but we can discuss the implications of it all.

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